by Mike Potter
At least this part of N.C. Central's football schedule is over.
For the third time this season the Eagles (0-6) went into a road game they had a snowball's chance in a blast furnace of winning, and for the third time they left a stadium having earned some respect.
In the end Appalachian State (3-2) which has had the nation's best program in Division I's Football Championship Subdivision for the past few years was just too good.
Devon Moore rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns while Armanti Edwards rushed for two touchdowns and passed for another as the Mountaineers rolled the Eagles 55-21 at ASU's sold-out homecoming game at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone.
Still the Eagles scored some meaningful touchdowns, both of them following takeaways by junior linebacker Calvin Hillie (pictured), and led 14-7 after the first quarter.
Moore started the scoring with a 73-yard touchdown run.
But Hillie helped set up the tying score by returning an interception of an Edwards pass 35 yards to the ASU 11, with Tim Shankle going in from two yards out two plays later. The pickoff marked the first time Edwards, who won the Walter Payton Award as the top player in the FCS last season, had been intercepted this season.
Hillie then put a scare into the stadium on the Mountaineers' next snap, recovering a fumble at the ASU 24 to set up Michael Johnson's two-yard scoring pass to Earthan Ward.
But the rest of the day belonged to the home team, which led 24-14 at halftime.
NCCU's other touchdown was a 44-yard pass from Johnson to Andrew Johnson to make it 34-21 early in the fourth quarter before the home team pulled away.
ASU finished with 644 yards total offense, the most ever in a single game against NCCU.
Derek Harvey led the Eagles' defense with a career-high 11 tackles.
The Eagles, who previously led Liberty 10-7 at halftime and trailed Duke 21-14 late in the second quarter, return home on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. to face Central Methodist (5-1), which is ranked No. 25 in the NAIA coaches' poll.